The Week in Books #17

Better late than never, it’s another Week in Books! This month I finished a few more entertaining titles including A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab, The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma, and Recovery: Freedom From our Addictions by Russel Brand.

A Darker Shade of Magic was recommended to me by a friend and I really enjoyed jumping back into some fun fantasy after a long hiatus. The pacing and world building were both great and I’m looking forward to continuing with this series.

The Fishermen has been on my shelf for a loooong time and I finally got to it! This is an excellent book. I loved the pacing, the characters, and the writing style. Fishermen tells the tale of a family of brothers in Nigeria torn apart by a prediction made by the town madman. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this but the writing was surprisingly beautiful despite the subject matter being a bit grim. Things moved smoothly from start to finish and I enjoyed all of it. Definitely memorable.

Recovery is a book about, you guessed it, recovery from addictions. Russell is a recovered addict with 14 years clean due to his commitment to the 12 step program, and in this book he lays out the 12 steps in his own words. He is very passionate about the program, almost to the point of sounding… brainwashed? Not sure if that’s the best word for it but it almost verges on cult-y at times in the writing. A large portion of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) involves belief in a higher power and handing your life over to said power to aid in your healing. For this reason I have personally struggled with the concept of the 12 steps as not everyone believes in a higher power and that makes it hard to find success with this program (FYI there are often atheist alternatives available to AA/NA if that is something that makes the 12 step program more appealing). Russell is clearly a very spiritual person and I found it quite interesting to read about how this has guided him into sobriety. There is a ton of very useful information in this book, and I was also pleasantly surprised by the detailed description of his child’s birth from start to finish at the end (as a pregnant lady I am currently obsessing over labour, and reading birth stories is super interesting to me!)

Russell’s writing has a nice flow and he explains things in a unique and accessible way. He’s also a pretty rad guy; he made time to visit several projects run by the non-profit I work for in Vancouver, including hanging out with the women residents of the recovery building where I worked for many years and posing for this photo with Liz Evans outside of Vancouver’s safe injection site, InSite. Thumbs up!

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